LETRAN men’s basketball coach Caloy Garcia remains hopeful star player Kevin Alas will play out his final year of eligibility, but is likewise preparing himself in case the national team member opts not to return next season.
The recently named coach of the Intramuros-based squad said he has yet to hear from the son of predecessor Louie Alas ever since the young gunner declared that he’s still undecided on whether to forego or not his final playing year with the Knights owing to a scheduling conflict with Gilas Pilipinas.
Alas is coming off a successful stint with the national team that won the title in the 19th Super Kung Sheung Cup Championship in Hong Kong where he was adjudged as the tournament MVP.
But Garcia is confident the Knights can cope even in the absence of Alas, considering the core of the team that fell a win short of bagging last year’s NCAA men’s basketball title will return for another tour of duty.
Among those still suiting up for Letran according to Garcia are Kevin Racal, Jonathan Belorio, Mark Cruz, and 6-foot-7 Raymond Almazan, who made his commitment in an interview with Spin.ph.
“I think the team right now mataas pa `yung morale kasi nag-iba rin `yung ensayo. We’re prepared just in case Kevin doesn’t play,” Garcia said during the weekly Philippine Sports Association Forum at Shakey’s Malate on Tuesday.
“Our focus right now is the team itself,” added Garcia, whose team is now in the quartefinals of the ongoing Fr. Martin Cup.
Letran junior standouts Jon Quinto and Rey Nambatac have been practicing with the team and are expected to make a formal commitment to the senior’s squad soon.
Among the holdovers who impressed Garcia the most is the pint-sized Cruz, who he noted has some similarities with older brother and PBA point guard Marvin.
“Parang si Marvin din, pero he has better range,” said Garcia, who has for Letran deputies Mike Buendia, Elvis Tolentino, Ronjay Enrile, and Gerald Francisco.